Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Writing Playground GuestBlog: We Do It Write

Scavenger Hunt Contest!!! Read this blog -- and visit my guest blog at -- to gain clues and answer 4 questions in our Scavenger Hunt! 2 folks who answer correctly each win a beaded paperback thong and a 12-pack of new romance. Details in the blog below!

They're here I'm there. I'm guest blogging today at, part of, a terrific place on the Web for writers -- published and yet to be -- to hang with other readers who love "the craft," as well as romance. Our Bella Playground Monitor, aka Marilyn's one of em', so give her and the Playfriends a warm Bella buongiorno (and ask em to tell ya what BICHOK means...

It’s the Playground Monitor here, acting as spokesperson for the Playfriends of the Writing Playground – five writers thrilled to be sammiched between chickens and black lace, and who are always happy to be invited to RBtB. We’re blogging today about writing and “writing.” All of us put pen to paper (or BICHOK as the case may be) to create fiction. The other Playfriends have all submitted novels to major houses, Angel and I are published in short fiction, and we’ve all been published in non-fiction. But we write in our day jobs as well.

sells people. Actually, she owns a resume writing service and uses words to describe a person and their ability to perform a job.

Instigator writes business documents and proposals for her employer, and since these are often the only contact they have with customers, the writing must shine or the customer will go elsewhere. She’s also trying to teach the company’s project managers and schedulers how to write. That’s a gargantuan feat since most can plan a grocery shopping trip so it’s something akin to a space shuttle mission but can’t write a proper sentence.

Smarty Pants is a technical writer (and so was I before I retired to become a kept woman – who am I fooling? I keep house, keep the laundry clean, keep us fed, etcetera). Sitting in a windowless room with a locked steel door, SP writes instructions for equipment that she’s never used and sometimes never seen, and they have to be simple enough that Average-Joe-off-the-street could walk in and follow the directions. If she tells you more about her job, she’ll have to kill you.

Problem Child
is an English teacher who writes sample essays to prove to her students that her assignments are *not* impossible. Even her emails are letter-perfect because she has to set an example. She’s also her family’s designated complaint-letter writer; mail carriers need asbestos gloves to handle her more acerbic complaints.

While reports and resumes and essays (oh my!) may not require the same imagination and talent that a novel does, they, too, can require a little creativity at times. But all writing requires clarity of thought, organization, good grammar, and proper spelling. The ability to communicate effectively through writing is important in every aspect of life--not just between the covers of a book.

To take this to its logical conclusion, aren’t we all writers? Sure, some of us write fiction, but consider the other things – the than
k-you note for a gift, words of condolence in a sympathy card, an email to set up a lunch date or a carefully crafted blog comment.

What do you write in everyday life – either in your job or in your personal life?

Michelle, ever the honorary Playfriend, is blogging on our site today ( so please bop on over, say hi and search for treasure there as well. We put new sand in the sandbox (and checked to make sure no cats had been there) to get it ready for y’all. Today’s forecasted high is 93, so be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen too.

Scavenger hunt questions:

1. What’s the theme of our current website contest?

2. Which two Playfriends have recently been blessed by the house fairy and sold their homes?

Please email your answers to all four questions, with the word HUNT in the subject line, to Two winners will be chosen to each receive a 12-pack of romances and a beaded paperback thong.


Stacy~ said...

Morning Bellas and Players. I love your little community - friendly and fun.

Hmmm, writing. Well, in the job, there's much to be said about the power of a well-written thank you card - customers appreciate it and it helps build lasting relationships to have that connection.

Personally, I have my own blog, where I love to talk about books, and I do some reviewing - I find I don't have much of a talent for stories, and I ramble incessantly (just ask the Bellas LOL) yet I enjoy it and it's really for my own pleasure. There's something so strong about the written word, and creating something using words is an incredible feeling. I love it.

Gotta go kids, but have a fabulous day :)

Kati said...

Welcome back, Playfriends! And good morning, Bellas!

I write quite a bit in my job. I write brochure copy, I write many, many emails, and I write many letters. All of it is straight business writing.

In my personal life, I have a blog and I also write pithy reviews for Armchair Interviews.

That's about it. But I have to say, I deeply appreciate a good turn of phrase.

Welcome back ladies! We're thrilled to have you here!

Portia Da Costa said...

Lovely to meet you, Playfriends all! I just went to your blog and commented, but I'm back here now... obviously. :)

My main day job is writing fiction, but I do also do web design as a sideline, so I write code for that.

In my personal life, the main writing I do is 'to do' lists! Millions of them! And they never all get ticked off and completed, they just get rolled into the next 'to do' list in a never ending cycle of tyranny!

Oh, and I also love writing emails to my buds, and silly stuff in my blog too...



Playground Monitor said...

Stacy, I believe the thank-you note may be a dying art. But my southern upbringing won't let me ignore it.

MK, I used to review books too and was review coordinator for a website. When I decided to take a serious stab at writing, I gave it up except for the occasional book.

Writing code! What I know about HTML code would fit in a thimble so I am in awe. I keep saying I'm going to take a class one day and learn it cause it would be so helpful. As for your lists... well Problem Child is our resident list maker and she becomes positively obsessed with it at times. But she gets the job done so they obviously work.


Playground Monitor said...

Oh, and blogs. I am amazed at the folks who can keep up a daily blog alone. I only have to blog one day each week and some weeks it's a chore. Other weeks the topic will pop right in my head or I'll springboard off the previous day's blog. And then there are the "What am I doing posing as a writer" blogs. :grin:


Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

Morning, Bella! Smarty Pants reporting for duty.

WendyPortia - fiction writing, web code and to do lists? Add in technical documents and I think we live the same life. I can't wait until the day I can drop that part and do fiction writing exclusively. Of course, then when I procrastinate, I'll starve - that's incentive to keep writing, eh? :) Whip that muse into shape!

For those of you that blog - especially on your own (what pressure!) how do you come up with topics week after week? I know I struggle sometimes with my one. At the same time a lot of blogs are shutting down - do you find your blog sucks up too much of your writing time?? I know the Writing Playground could take up hours of my life if I let it. Those Grammar Gremlin articles alone deserve hours of study (my CPs would be so pleased...)


Problem Child said...

Good morning bellas! Thanks for letting us come back and play.

I sometimes teach a basic writing class--where we start with "this is a noun, this is an adverb"--and I tell my students that "EVERYBODY WRITES." And it's true.

Some folks do it better than others...

(Oh, and thanks for choosing the picture that makes me look really drunk and stupid.)

Playground Monitor said...

You don't look stupid in that photo. Was it taken before or after the Teeter-Totters?


Portia Da Costa said...

I've conditioned the readers of my blog to expect a very low standard of posts! That's how I keep up to it... ;)

Seriously, my blog is mostly just personal chitchat of the fairly inconsequential kind, and sometimes pictures. I also natter on a lot about my WIP and how it's going or not going... and sometimes bounce ideas off readers.

I don't let it suck too much time... If I'm really busy, I miss a day or two.

Julie in Ohio said...

Welcome back, Playfriends!!
Mornin', Bellas!!

I write the occasional letters for work. They're mostly complaint letters so I guess that shows where I get my whining from. :p

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

And then there are the "What am I doing posing as a writer" blogs. :grin:

Funny, Marilyn, but that's what I write every day. Perhaps I should be suing you for plagiarism...

Buongiorno, Bellas and Playfriends! Oh, so nice to have you back again.

I love this topic, because whenever someone says, "oh, I'm not a very good writer," I think, gee, we all write every day. I mean, hello? Blogs? What medium has done more for literacy and honing of the written language than blogs and commenting? Huh? I acks, you, huh?

Great fun to have the Playfriends back and to hang in the sandbox. Looking forward to it all.

Julie in Ohio said...

I never considered this (posting comments) as writing. To me this is having a conversation with a bunch of friends. Like one big chat line, without the interruptions... :oD

Kira Sinclair - AKA Instigator said...

Good Morning, Bellas! Thank you Michelle for inviting us back to play! We really like your sand :-)

The hardest thing I have to do each week is write my blog. In the begining the topics just flowed out but now... I seem to have run out of intelligent, interesting things to say.


Angel said...

Angel and Problem Child's motto: Never underestimate the power of a well-written To Do list, or a list to keep track of your To Do list...

Amen to the choosing of pictures. Although I must say I don't look as drunk as the rest of you, but I'm probably more so. Those teeter totters.... Worst hangover I ever had. Of course, I'd never had one before, so...

I think, even though I do struggle with topics or worrying what I'm say is stupid, I'm glad I have to blog every week. It brings me back to focus, if that makes any sense. It makes me ask, what am I doing? How am I progressing? What's uppermost in my life right now? And the answer isn't always writing.

Another writing favorite of mine is journaling. For my own personal satisfaction (I'd die if anyone read one), I love to throw everything out on the page. Clears the brain and helps me work out problems. A friend once said that he typed his journaling every day, because that's how he felt most comfortable. When he was done, he erased it. Then he didn't have to worry about it coming back to haunt him later. :)


Problem Child said...

Our to-do lists are famous on the Playground. Angel and I can break anything down into a to-do list. It makes even big tasks seem manageable.

(TO-DO: 1. Sharpen knives. 2) cut into small bites. 3) Chew slowly. 4) Clean up mess. See, it's easy to eat an elephant if you break it down into steps. If it weren't illegal and I didn't think it would be morally wrong as well to eat elephants. Oh, stop me now.)

Of course, with the disaster my life is this week, you really don't want to see my To-do lists. They aren't pretty and could scare small children


MsTypo said...

Jambo Bellas and Playladies!! :D

I am a horrible letter writer; be they thank you notes, emails, or letters to friends who haven't heard from me in years... I'll get around to it eventually... Probably. Michelle can be my witness: it took me ages to send her a thank you note. Something for which i felt and continue to feel horrible.. *blush*

When i am in writing mode you can find my work on my blog where i wax unpoetic about all the crazy things that dance around in my brain.

A good friend of mine says that blogging proves that I have too much time on my hands. I think he's jealous... Yeah, jealous, because i have stuff to do... Really!!

Playground Monitor said...

The other Playfriends have a bazillion to-do lists cause they're all leaving for Scotland next week. I didn't think I'd be able to make that trip and go to RWA too so I declined the invite. And then when the DH heard about the trip he said "Well why aren't you going too? We could afford it." Grrrrr. I try to be frugal and nice and this is what I get.

Nobody's asked about BICHOK yet. Either they don't give a monkey's rump or they know already.


Angel said...

I know old BICHOK, unfortunately. It works... I don't like it, but it works...


Captain Jack said...

Ahoy Bellas and Playfriends (or is that Playmates? he asks with an evil leer).

I am quite delighted to see fellow treasure hunters. Just stay out of my territory and things won't get ugly. N'est ces pas?

I remain,

Capt. Jack Sparrow

Julie in Ohio said...

Alright, I'll bite. What's BICHOK?
I'm thinking it's some kind of sushi...

flip said...

I write legal pleadings, briefs, letters, emails, and reports. With the writing process, it is easy once I get started.

My biggest weakness is proofreading.

flip said...

I write legal pleadings, briefs, letters, emails, and reports. With the writing process, it is easy once I get started.

My biggest weakness is proofreading.

Playground Monitor said...

BICHOK is an acronym for "Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard," which is absolutely essential to writing. Of course, I do my first drafts in longhand so mine is BICFAP (Butt in Chair, Fingers Around Pen). :grin:

Phoebe Belsley said...

We're supposed to have real lives now? Aw, man.

I used to write code. Not cool, pretty website code, but financial-database-reading code. I guarantee you writing sex scenes is more fun. Writing thank-you notes is more fun, come to think of it.

And I'm hoping BICHOK is a really cool insult of sorts...the sort people have to think about before deciding whether they're actually insulted or not.

Playground Monitor said...

Proofreading -- I cannot do it on the computer screen. I have to print it out and proof from a hard copy. I do some proofing for a couple authors and do theirs the same way. I mark on the hard copy with a green pen (green keeps it from looking like someone bled all over the place) and then transfer my comments into the document using the Track Changes feature.

Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

Alas, BICHOK isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds. Unfortunately, it is essential. I have spent plenty of time BICHOKing, but not on something important, like my dumb book!

Hey, there Jackie boy. I missed you. I've been forced to allow an imposter named Captain Jack paw and lick me in your absence. Alas, he's Instigator's dog...

Julie in Ohio said...

"I do my first drafts in longhand so mine is BICFAP (Butt in Chair, Fingers Around Pen). :grin:"

I'm with ya on the hardcopies. Whenever I write a letter I always start with paper and a pencil. I know I'll make mistakes and it is so much easier to correct them with an eraser. That way when I type it out I can fly across the keyboard instead of start, stop, and wait while forming thoughts. That last part can take a while... :p

I like BICHOK. I'm afraid that even with the command tattooed on me, I'd still find a way to avoid. Michelle used my favorite word at WP; PROCRASTINATION.

Unknown said...

What do I write apart from fiction?
I write all the notes to school and teachers, I'm the walking talking spelling bee and I occasionally rephrase one of my dear husbands business letters if I get my hands on it!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Captain Jack! Captain Jack's back, Bellas! We haven't seen him since out last Scavenger Hunt. Ahoy, Cap'n...What's the joke again? Why can't pirates' kids go to the movies? Cause they're all rated RRRRRRRRRRR. Get it?

typO, really. thank you notes are the hardest things to write, then to send. But it's a good example of the writing we learn to do as kids and try to carry into adulthood.

Ah...proofreading. I read backwards, but still miss stuff all the time. I think I told you guys I turned in my first Lifetime column with the BOOK TITLE incorrect. I wrote the editor to tell her and she wrote back, um you did it twice. Pretty impressive, huh?

Thanks on the BICHOK thing. It really does look like a fun naughty word.

Ah, flip, it's always the "getting started" that's hard, I think.

MsTypo said...

My SIL was forced to write thank you notes as a kid. They weren't allowed to play with birthday gifts or Christmas gifts until they had written their notes and addressed the enveloppes.

She's still great about it to this day. I hate her. <3 :D

BICHOK: i don't know about you guys but everyone i see it i keep pronouncing it as beyotch in my head. Ok just me... ;)

amy kennedy said...

I thought you meant an actual teeter-totter, didn't know it was a cocktail. LOL

BICHOK--that's what I'm supposed to be doing--oh, now I get it.

The only writing I do for work is e-mail. But my Dad moved to Portland when I was 14 and we wrote letters constantly--he graduated Summa Cum something from the U of Minnesota Journalism School--so, we wrote. I kept every letter he ever sent me. Honest. And now that he's gone I have these wonderful memories and slices of his life.

amy kennedy said...

I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't write--journals, really crappy poetry, letters, and fiction.

Isn't really crappy poetry a part of girlhood?

Playground Monitor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Playground Monitor said...

I thought you meant an actual teeter-totter, didn't know it was a cocktail.

Yes, it's a cocktail of sorts that was invented last fall at our annual chapter retreat, which is also the anniversary of when the Writing Playground was concieved. We wanted to have a toast and because I can't drink anything alcoholic because of meds I take, Smarty Pants brought not only champagne but green apple sparkling cider (she couldn't find any regular). So they poured their champagne and I poured my cider and then someone had the idea of mixing the two. It was actually quite tasty and we decided it would be the official drink of the Writing Playground. The name "Teeter Totter" just seemed appropriate. We even have wine glass charms to commemorate the occasion.


ev said...

I write here and at Plot Monkeys. And occassionaly emails to friends.

I used to write press releases for the governor's office or proof ones others had written. I am so glad I don't do that any more.

amy kennedy said...

Whoa, Ev...once again you never cease to amaze me.

Marilyn, the name is appropriate.

Kira Sinclair - AKA Instigator said...

Ah, but SP, you know you enjoyed being pawed and licked :-)


Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

I'll take it where I can get it...

Kammie said...

I mostly write emails, some procedures and lists. I'm a list maker so I don't forget anything. They're everywhere. lol

Caffey said...

Hi again! Been fun chatting here. As a reader, I don't write, I want to read it all :)

I do write my son's notes for school but that will soon be done since he is a senior. :D

I did write some poetry many years ago in HS/College. It may even be in the attic somewhere unless at my last cleaning I threw it out.

But I do enjoy reading here about what you all write. And thanks for all you do write, its a joy to read!

Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...


Night, Bellas. Its been fun treasure hunting with y'all. Hope you guys can stop by the playground again tomorrow - we're having a special celebration!


Angel said...

That's right, SP! Even more exciting than our birthday celebration... Can't wait. ;)


Playground Monitor said...

It's a most splendiferous celebration -- jumping up and down, giggling non-stop, grinning ear to ear special. We hope you'll check the Playground blog tomorrow to check it out.


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